Oscar Breakdown by Category — Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Live-Action Short, & Best Animated Short

This is what’s known as getting the rest of the bullshit done in one fell swoop. This is like the LMNOP run. Just do it real fast — and then you’re done.

Best Documentary Feature is a stupid, but necessary category. Who’s to say what the best documentary truly is? This category should be called “Most Important Documentary,” or “Our Favorite Documentary This Year,” because sometimes an entertaining one wins, like Man on Wire. Other times, it’s the same old boring, “Your country fucked you over in some way,” doc that wins every year. Don’t believe me? Check this:

I won’t even put it in a table. It doesn’t get one. It has to go to the kids table. Which I drew myself. With invisible crayon.

  • 2009 – The Cove — not about our government. Probably why I enjoyed it.
  • 2008 – Man on Wire
  • 2007 – Taxi to the Dark Side — Not the Prequel trilogy. Murder of Afghan cabbie by U.S. soldiers. Anti-war.
  • 2006 – An Inconvenient Truth — Climate change. Your government is doing nothing.
  • 2005 – March of the Penguins — I liked this one. It’s about fucking penguins.
  • 2004 – Born into Brothels — Haven’t seen it, but it’s about children essentially born into prostitution in Calcutta. Sounds awesome.
  • 2003 – The Fog of War — Hopefully an Iraqi weather report. About a former secretary of defense. Probably talks about how we fucked up some war.
  • 2002 – Bowling for Columbine — This was entertaining, but still, government gives guns which caused Charlton Heston to make fun of these kids. Whatever. It’s Michael Moore. The government is to blame.
  • 2001 – Murder on a Sunday Morning — Prequel to The Passion? Oh, 15 year old boy wrongly accused of murder in Florida.
  • 2000 – Into the Arms of Strangers — Jewish underground railroad thing.
  • 1999 – One Day in September — Munich
  • 1998 – The Last Days — Holocaust
  • 1997 – The Long Way Home — Jewish refugees post WWII
  • 1996 – When We Were Kings — Awesome doc about Ali/Forman in Africa
  • 1995 – Anne Frank Remembered — Fucking really? It’s about how she learned to communicate while being blind and deaf. What the fuck do you think it’s about?

Shall I continue, or do we get the point? This category is essentially a list of what’s wrong with something, or something important from history. Basically, pre-9/11, it was the Holocaust. Post-9/11, it’s “Your government is fucking you!” I can’t take this category seriously when that’s all they’re gonna vote in. There are three films on this list not about “important” shit, and they’re the best docs on here. And Michael Moore is the other. Which, fine. I’ll give him one. The rest of them were too angry.

So, this category is bullshit. That’s my history of the category. It’s bullshit. Onto the nominees:

(Also, the reason this category is necessary because docs are an important part of the industry. I mean, I don’t care about them, but they are important that they exist. Like math. I leave math to the mathletes. I’ll go do my shit instead. That’s why I put up with it. But I never said I wasn’t going to make fun of it.)

Best Documentary Feature

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Gasland

Inside Job

Restrepo

Waste Land

So, one, “Government is fucking you over by buying land,” one “government is fucking you over by creating financial panic,” one, “we’re gonna follow a platoon in Iraq to show you the government is needlessly killing its own,” and two non “important” ones.

I think these last two years are very telling. Since Bush is out of office, I think they’ve calmed the fuck down and started voting in the entertaining ones. I hope that’s the case this year. Let’s rank.

5. Gasland — Government is buying up land to take natural gas or something out of the ground to make us a gas super power. Sounds boring. Doubt they’ll vote it. There’s better government bait.

4. Waste Land — South American artists living in the world’s biggest landfill. I doubt they’ll vote it. It’s uplifting. I don’t think they’re at that stage yet. Maybe soon, but not yet. It’ll stick with the nomination.

3. Restrepo — If The Tillman Story didn’t get on, then I think this is here purely because people said it’s very well made. I don’t think the war is topic du jour anymore, so I don’t think they vote this in unless it’s that interesting. Possible, but I doubt it.

2. Inside Job –– likely to win. Still putting it here to hold out some hope. It’s about the government and the economy collapse. Doc bait.

1. Exit Through the Gift Shop — Clearly the most enjoyable doc of the bunch. Also fits with the stuff they’ve been voting in the last two years. Also could be voted to see if the mysterious man behind it actually shows up. There’s a lot here to reason that it’ll get voted in. Also, this and Inside Job are like Social Network vs. King’s Speech. And you know where I fall on that one. So, let’s extend the fight to this category too.

Now, onto the shorts…

Best Documentary Short

Obviously you know what this is about. Docs that aren’t 90 minutes long. Typically they’re either politically charged, emotionally charged or about third-world countries. Typically, the winner is a combination of the three. Watch.

Killing in the Name

Poster Girl

Strangers No More

Sun Come Up

The Warriors of Qiugang

Remember the three criteria I told you about?

Killing in the Name is about the dude who becomes an anti-terrorist activist after his wedding day gets blown up. Emotional. Third World Country. Politically charged. Venn diagram sweet spot.

Poster Girl is the cheerleader who joined the army and became a (insert title here) and now is coming back home and living with the after effects of war. Emotional. Politically charged. Was in a third world country for a while. Not gonna win anyway.

Strangers No More is about a school in Tel Aviv school featuring children from 48 countries and backgrounds, learning together. Double emotionally charged. Clearly a favorite based on the subject matter alone. They eat this shit up.

Sun Come Up is about people from some third world country being displaced from their home due to climate change. Do I even need to tell you which of the three that hit? Clearly all signs point Academy Nuticum Busticus on this one.

The Warriors of that Chinese place is about villagers taking action against a chemical plant that poisoned their land and water. Another triple decker. Clearly these last three are your favorites.

The last three seem like your best bets. But because this doesn’t matter and you have to watch them all in order to be able to vote, anything goes here. Usually the most affecting or well-made one gets the win. Who knows which that is. I’m guessing the children or the climate change. Maybe that Chinese one, but I bet on them Chinamen before and lost, so I don’t trust them. Maybe it’s because my grandfather always warned me to “watch out for them Chinamen.” And then my first grade teacher always said, “The only good Chinaman is a dead Chinaman.” Maybe that’s why I became a writer.

I’m gonna go with the kids. Why not? Nom nom nom.

Best Live Action Short Film

The Confession

The Crush

God of Love

Na Wewe

Wish 143

I’m not even gonna bother with this one. The times I’ve actually seen some of the entries, there was always one that was clearly the best. And every time, something else wins. Take last year. There was one entry called The Door, and it was a brilliant short. Made in Russia. It was a dude, sneaking around early morning/night, and you don’t know what he’s doing other than that he’s breaking into some place. And he avoids a patrolling security guard, and gets into some house or compound or something.

And as he’s going around, you realize, dude’s breaking into ground zero that was affected by Chernobyl. He’s in the fucking hot zone. And he goes to what is presumably his house. And as he’s in there, he thinks about his young daughter, because he’s in her old room, and then he takes the door and goes home. And the rest of the film shows you how they were evacuated and everything. And then, the end of the film is, you realize, the daughter is dying from leukemia, and the door was something he stole so they could bury her with it. Tell me that’s not fucking heartbreaking. The one that won was about gay tenants or something.

So, I put no stock into this, and I’ve stopped watching them, just because — who gives a fuck? I’ll probably watch what I can this year, just to pretend like it matters. Now I have this thing to write on, so I probably need to say some shit about them and pretend like I’m a professional and am not sitting here, drinking Jack while I write these. Let’s find synopses:

The Confession is about “A young boy preparing for his first confession worries that he has no sins to report, so he enlists a friend’s help in committing one.” (Like, Winston Wolf?)

The Crush is about “Eight-year-old Ardal has a crush on his teacher and is devastated to learn she has a fiancé.” (Ardal sounds like a drug to make your dick as hard as tree bark.)

God of Love is about “A love triangle between two musicians and a young woman takes a surprising turn when one of them finds a collection of magical darts.” (… uhh, okay. Hopefully they’re lawn darts.)

Na Wewe is about “In 1994, as the Rwandan genocide spills over into neighboring Burundi, a bus is attacked by a group of rebels.” (Does that mean someone on the bus is going home na-wewe? Chop chop?)

Wish 143 is about “When a terminally ill young boy is granted a wish by a charitable foundation, he makes a surprising request.” He wants an hour with a naked woman. Not very surprising. Seriously, that’s the request. Hopefully he’s not dying of AIDS, because that would be awkward.

Honestly, anything but Na Wewe here is fine. That Wish one is a little — I don’t know, on the nose. That middle one looks like one to overlook, which probably means it’s going to win. Watch out for that. And the first two seem like logical favorites. I’m picking The Crush because it sounds the best.

Best Animated Short

Day & Night

The Gruffalo

Let’s Pollute

The Lost Thing

Madagascar, carnet de voyage

Day & Night is online here. Watch it. It’s awesome.

Here’s The Gruffalo. There’s a tab that links you to part two on the page. Part two freezes, but you get enough of it to figure it out. This one has the benefit of voice talent. Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Robbie Coltrane and John Hurt. That counts for a lot. Even if the film is by the numbers.

Let’s Pollute. This isn’t online anywhere. Which leads me to believe it’s probably entertaining. It’s a 50s style educational video that tells you why pollution is good. http://geefwee.com/let’spollute-tra.html — there’s a trailer. It looks interestingly animated.

The Lost Thing is the only other one not online in any form.

Theres a trailer. It looks boringly computer animated.

Madagascar, carnet de voyage is here. It’s gorgeously animated. Will that make up for the lack of story?

So, after watching three of them and seeing trailers for the other two, my personal choice is either Day & Night, Let’s Pollute or Madagascar. Gruffalo is entertaining, but the animation just seems pretty standard for what we can get nowadays. Lost Thing looks gorgeously animated, but its about a robot or something, and that doesn’t seem interesting.

Here are the films that won the past few years:

2009: http://www.movieweb.com/movie/logorama/short-film (watch this, it’s awesome)

2008:  (it’s fucking gorgeous)

2006: 

2004: http://www.nfb.ca/film/ryan … this one’s fucked up

2003: 

2002:  … the only computer one on here, really.

2001:  … Pixar

2000:  … also gorgeous

As we can see, most of the ones that win either look the best, or are so cleverly done you have to vote for them. So, that means Madagascar or Let’s Pollute. Pixar hasn’t won this in nine years. I wonder if they just won’t vote for it.

Here’s a category you don’t care if you lose, because you get to see some good shit. I’m gonna go through all the nominated films at some point just to see some more beautifully drawn ones.

…And that’s it. That’s all the categories. No more. Next time you’ll hear me talk 2010 Oscars is Oscar weekend. I’ll pipe back up with how the races are going and set up for final picks the day of. From now til then it’s more of me going over the last ten years of Oscar categories. We left off at 2001. So, tomorrow, we start 2002. Or rather, later today. Expect one later today, around midnight.

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